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Evaluation of pain relief treatment and timelines in emergency care in six European countries and Australia

Authors Xia AD, Dickerson SL, Watson A, Nokela M, Colman S, Szende A

Received 14 May 2019

Accepted for publication 21 August 2019

Published 17 September 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 229—240


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Hans-Christoph Pape

Andrew D Xia,1 Sara L Dickerson,2 Andrew Watson,3 Mika Nokela,4 Sam Colman,5 Agota Szende6

1Mundipharma International Limited, Cambridge, UK; 2Mundibiopharma Limited, Cambridge, UK; 3Canterbury and Concord Hospitals, Sydney, NSW, Australia; 4Covance Market Access Inc., Solna, Sweden; 5Covance Market Access Inc, Sydney, NSW, Australia; 6Covance Market Access Inc., Leeds, UK

Correspondence: Sara L Dickerson
Mundibiopharma Limited, Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 0AB, UK
Tel +44 0 122 339 7684

Purpose: Inadequate relief of pain is common in prehospital and hospital emergency department (ED) settings. We investigated pain treatments and timelines in patients receiving pre-hospital and hospital ED care to provide insight into potential approaches to reduce the burden of trauma-related pain.
Patients and methods: In this observational, retrospective chart review, patients had received emergency care for musculoskeletal trauma injuries and analgesic treatment for moderate-to-severe pain in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain or Sweden. As inhaled low-dose methoxyflurane (LDM) is used extensively in Australia but was not widely available in Europe at the time of this analysis, data from Australia were collated to provide insight into the potential utility of this analgesic in Europe. The primary endpoint was time to administration of first pain relief treatment following arrival of paramedic/ED care.
Results: Randomly selected physicians (n=189) collated data from 856 patients (Europe: n=585; Australia: n=271) via an online survey. Time to first pain relief treatment varied between countries and was significantly longer across Europe versus Australia (mean [SD] 38.1 [34.7] vs 29.9 [35.5] mins; P=0.0017). Patients from Australia who received LDM experience a shorter mean (SD) time to first pain treatment following arrival of emergency care versus patients who received other analgesics (propensity score matched [n=85] per group: 21.7 [24.2] vs 39.1 [43.0] mins; P=0.0013). Across all countries, mean (SD) time to first analgesic was shorter when treatment was administered by paramedics versus hospital ED staff (15.7 [14.7] vs 49.1 [38.4] mins).
Conclusions: While there was a large variation in analgesia timelines across countries, mean times are shorter in Australia compared with Europe overall. In Australia, use of LDM was associated with a significantly shorter time from emergency assistance to first pain treatment compared with non-LDM treatments. Further studies are needed to investigate the utility of LDM in Europe.

Keywords: methoxyflurane, pain management, ambulance, retrospective study, emergency medical service, analgesia

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